It’s Greek to Me
I raised the Greek question with Fr. Linsky this morning so looked up the answer at home. How to do that is about all I remember from the Greek course at the seminary. Here are the Greek words translated as hate, renounce, and love, and meanings of them according to Strong’s Greek Concordance . I’m doing it as a screen shot so I don’t have to worry about figuring out how to type Greek.
Thinking about the Luke 14 verses, it may help to remember that what Jesus was saying was literally true at that time and place. There was no “church” and he was gathering up disciples and taking them with him as he taught and trained them. If they couldn’t go with him, they could not be his disciples at that time and place so they had to part with or at least say goodbye to their possessions if they wanted to take the course, so to speak.
It is interesting that the Greek word sometimes translated Hate shows up 182 times in the Old Testament and 40 in the New Testament. It is sometimes translated as dislike, despise, or be the enemy of.
For the Greek word translated Love, Father Linsky mentioned the poverty of the English language in expressions of various kinds of love. We “love” football, french fries, grandchildren, and God. The ancient Greeks had six words expressing different kinds of love, and you can read about all of them HERE. It is interesting that eros never shows up in the New Testament.
The Greek word translated Renounce shows up a half dozen times in the New Testament, and here they are, illustrating different ways the Greek word is translated.
NAB Mark 6:46 And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.
NAB Luke 9:61 And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
NAB Luke 14:33 In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.
NAB Acts 18:18 Paul remained for quite some time, and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut because he had taken a vow.
21 but as he said farewell he promised, “I shall come back to you again, God willing.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.
NAB 2 Corinthians 2:13 I had no relief in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
Taxation and Freedom
Early in President Obama’s first term I became very interested in and started studying and blogging about government spending and taxing and impact of same on our freedoms including religious freedom. Here are some posts I did on the subject which I hope do a better job of explaining my point than what I said during our discussion.
The simple answer to all the issues I raise is drastically lower flat tax rates, income, property, and sales taxes, across the board, with no exemptions, deductions, exclusions, or credits. The current high nominal rates are required because so much is excluded from taxation.
If SC, for example, eliminated all the exclusions from the Sales Tax, the rate could be lowered to around 3% and still generate the same revenue. And, with such low rate flat tax systems in place, thousands of former lobbyists and IRS employees could clamor for jobs and Congress could get to work on important national issues instead of listening to lobbyists and tinkering with the tax code for favors, votes, and donations.
Churches benefit from fire and police protection and good streets and sidewalks and should be quite happy to pay property taxes and sales taxes at low and fair rates to support such services. And churches should never be profit-making entities so should never incur income tax bills. There is more logic behind these simplistic statements in the links above. I have come to believe that it is regrettable that we have given up so much freedom as a result of government “favors” made possible with borrowed money at the cost of burdensome national debt.
But don’t worry about my radical thinking. Such changes will never happen because it would rob Congress of too much power.
I bet you are sorry I brought it up!
The Early Years of the Catholic Church in the USA
Below is the quote I loved about early US Catholicism without support by or interference of the government. It was actually from Wikipedia rather from the very interesting book I mentioned. Here is a link to the whole article, including the sad parts that were mentioned in the discussion this morning: History of the Catholic Church in the United States
“In the nineteenth century the Church set up an elaborate infrastructure, based on dioceses run by bishops appointed by the pope. Each diocese set up a network of parishes, schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable institutions. Many priests arrived from France and Ireland, but by 1900 Catholic seminaries were producing a sufficient supply of priests.”
And then the 1960’s and 1970’s arrived.